Coca-Cola, the the largest beverage company in the world, with over 500 brands, recently announced that it is converting all of its 2014 Chevrolet Express service vans to hybrid-electric vehicles. The vans, 100 in total, will use the XL Hybrids’ powertrain technology, which stores energy that is wasted in braking and reapplies it during acceleration. The powertrain technology reduces fuel use and carbon emissions by up to 21.2 percent on urban or suburban routes. The move earns the company the distinction of having the largest heavy-duty hybrid electric delivery fleet in North America.
Early tests showed that the hybrid technology results in a 15 to 20 percent fuel reduction. The 100 hybrid vans are estimated to prevent 4,000 total tons of carbon dioxide emissions compared to what conventional vans would produce over their 10-year life span. The powertrain unit pays for itself three times over as a result of fuel savings and low maintenance. The hybrid vans are not the only alternative vehicles the company uses. Coca-Cola recently announced that it will be using 16 refrigerated plug-in electric vehicles to deliver its Odwalla brand beverages in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In North America, Coca-Cola operates a hybrid electric fleet of over 750 trucks that use about 30 percent less fuel than conventional diesels. It is “the largest such fleet on the continent,” as the 2012/2013 Sustainability Report states. The company’s trucking fleet accounted for about eight percent of its emissions in 2012, emitting 4.6 million metric tons of GHG gases in 2012, an increase from 4.03 million metric tons in 2011.
“Adoption of this hybrid technology supports Coca-Cola’s goal to reduce the carbon footprint embedded in ‘the drink in your hand’ by 25 percent by 2020,” said Bruce Karas, Vice President of Environment and Sustainability for Coca-Cola. “We continue to make energy-saving investments because they are good for business, good for the communities we serve and good for the planet.”
“XL Hybrids provides technology that helps Coca-Cola meet its emissions reduction goals while saving money,” said Justin Ashton, Vice President of Business Development and Co-founder at XL Hybrids. “Our company’s goal is to accelerate fuel and emissions reductions at a large scale. To accomplish this, we had to design and commercialize technology that provides a solid economic return on investment to corporate customers.”
Competitor PepsiCo deploys sustainable vehicles in its fleet
PepsiCo has over 1,300 hybrids in its car fleet. Frito-Lay, whose parent company is PepsiCo, has the largest company-owned electric vehicle (EV) fleet in the U.S. – 269 electric trucks deployed across the U.S., which are expected to eliminate the need for 600,000 gallons of fuel a year. The company launched a program in 2012 to add vehicles to its fleet that run on converted natural gas. In September, Frito-Lay added 20 EVs to its upstate New York fleet, plus 20 EV charging stations, bringing the total to 35 EVs used in the area.